National Gallery wins grant to help save art conservation skills

From The Guardian:

Institutions around world receive grants from Getty Foundation to teach skills to new generation

Essential conservation work on world famous paintings, including the equestrian portrait of Charles I in the National Gallery in London, in which Anthony Van Dyck transformed the diminutive monarch into a heroic emblem of power on a magnificent horse, will be used to train a new generation on how to prolong the life of historic canvases, through grants from the Getty Foundation in California.

The foundation is worried that the traditional skills of repairing or re-lining canvases, mending tears and preserving cracking or peeling paint, are being lost as a generation of conservators retires. The grants are intended to spread the understanding of how to conserve these works between institutions and countries.

“For years museum conservators have adopted a ‘wait and monitor’ approach to any major structural intervention on canvas paintings,” Antoine Wilmering, a conservation expert at the Getty, said. “But the danger is that once treatment can no longer be delayed, the experts with direct knowledge of lining and re-lining won’t be there to offer help.”

The National Gallery will receive more than £70,000, so that it can share the conservation process on the monumental Van Dyck. Since it came to Trafalgar Square in 1885 the huge painting has rarely been off display, but while the 17th century canvas is in relatively good condition, the more recent lining intended to protect it is failing and has to be replaced, and the paint surface has a web of cracks and splits.

Click here for the full article.